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We Are, We Remain…

Poland Country of Origin: Poland

We Are, We Remain…
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Buy on: Bandcamp
Type: Full-Length
Release Date: April 29th, 2024
Genre: Black, Death
1. Czas By Powstali
2. Stulecia We Krwi
3. Horda Duchów
4. Hymn To Winter
5. A Fine Day To Die (Bathory Cover)

Review by Vladimir on April 15, 2024.

I have to say that year 2024 has had it pretty big with all the oldschool bands returning, as well as new yet highly anticipated releases popping up out of nowhere like mushrooms. Case and point are the polish black/death metal band North, who have been pretty much silent during the last decade, until all of a sudden, they decided to return with a brand-new EP called We Are, We Remain…, with the release date of April 29th via Pagan Records. 

Without remorse and without a word of warning, the first track 'Czas By Powstali' strikes hard with pure misanthropy and aggression, like an avalanche coming down from the frozen mountain. Intense tremolo picking with occasional heavy chugging and slow mid-tempo riffs, solos, dive bombs and pinch harmonics, backed up with fast rhythmic drumming, harsh vocals with occasional growls, altogether create a monstrous storm with such decibels that would collapse the hilltop. The first couple of tracks truly show great potential, proving that this EP does indeed have a lot of standard yet interesting stuff to offer, ranging from various riff ideas to atmospheric moments, especially those that come to play on the third track 'Horda Duchów'. The fourth track 'Hymn To Winter' is somewhat of a standout on this EP for showcasing a more pagan black metal style approach with some frosty riffs and melodies, while still maintaining the musical template of the previous three songs. As a conclusion to this EP, they gave us a cover of Bathory’s 'A Fine Day To Die', which as I stated previously on my Blackbraid II review, it is a very overdone song since it was covered by so many bands before, including Emperor, and the overall decision of covering it practically became a running gag. However, considering that this year marks the 20th anniversary of Quorthon’s passing, as well as the 40th anniversary of Bathory’s debut album, I guess it’s not so bad after all since it can be easily excused as a nice opportunity to be used for both occasions. Ironically, the way how North covered the song is totally different from the original, by using a faster tempo with various rhythmic changes, while also going for a more “cold second wave black metal” approach as opposed to the “first wave black metal/proto viking black metal” style like Bathory’s original. The way how they performed the song in their own style managed to make it somewhat unique and more dynamic, but I personally wasn’t that impressed with the cover because it just didn’t flow with me that much, and even if it was any better, I would still stick to the original 1988 classic because its magic is simply unbeatable and cannot be outmatched by any. 

North certainly went ahead of their way to use a lot of dynamic ideas in their songwriting, with a lot of tempo changes and fluent transitions, while still maintaining most of the traditional black metal elements in their music. The EP offers plenty of your classic black metal traits that were rightfully expressed throughout every song, with an established template that has a lot of stylistic consistency and continuity, and yet on top of that, it doesn’t fall victim to a linear/one-dimensional generic output. It definitely managed to flow with me all the way through, despite the unnecessary inclusion of the Bathory cover as the closing track. There is a lot of intensity in their riffing, as well as the band performance as a whole, which conveys a lot of extreme emotions as well as a cold atmosphere that goes along nicely. On the last note, the production of this EP is actually well-balanced by providing a modern sound with some rawness that manages to express the required black metal edge. 

Overall, I’d say that We Are, We Remain… EP is definitely worth the while and it offers plenty of it to satisfy your needs. The final output proves that North was working hard with effort full of blood and sweat, that deeply expresses from the both of the heart that “they are, and they are here to remain”. It’s a fun release that you should definitely check out if you are into polish black metal. 

Rating: 8.3 out of 10